It has been over a month since we have been asked to social distance. COVID-19 has impacted the world in a way we never thought possible. Streets are empty, and stores are closed. Hugs have been replaced by six feet of distance. Gatherings with family and friends have become something of the past. Times are definitely bizarre. So, how do we survive social distancing?
Many had said that today’s society had become more introverted. We had fewer and fewer reasons to see the outside world. With Amazon delivering our essentials, Postmates delivering our food , dating online, and shopping online. However, social distancing has still proven to be difficult. That’s because it’s still in our nature to be social, to have interpersonal connections. Dr. Steven Gundry said it best when he said, “We are an incredibly social creature. You can say that it is not in our DNA to social distance.” We need human interaction to feel connected to the world. When the sense of connection to the world disappears it tends to trigger other things. Not to mention the situation is exponentially different. Our ability to choose whether to stay home or not has been removed. We must stay inside if we want to survive and help end this. We are going through a collective trauma.
Even though social distancing is not an ideal situation, there are ways to make this experience more bearable. Here are 20 things that can help you survive social distancing.
1. Maintain a routine
It’s difficult to keep track of time now. Weekends seem like Monday. Mondays have meshed into Tuesday, it can get confusing. Our bodies and minds are so used to having a routine. Taking us out of it can make us feel out of wack. It’s normal to feel this way but the best way to not stay feeling this way is by creating a home routine. It will allow you to feel a sense of control in a time when we have lost a lot of it. Now, I don’t mean planning every minute of your family’s day. The point is not to overwhelm yourself with things to do. The point is to create a flow in your day. To look forward to things. That will allow you to maintain a sense of normality, positivity, and hope.
2. Your morning routine is everything
Speaking of routines, your morning routine is everything. The way you begin your morning will dictate how your day flows. Make sure you pay attention to what you allow in your morning. Do what works for you but one thing you shouldn’t allow is the outside world. Don’t turn on your phone or your TV first thing in the morning. Your TV is full of negativity, and your phone is full of other people’s emergencies. Looking at your phone or your TV in the morning will only make your day heavy. You will notice that you become more easily irritated throughout the day. That’s because the news, posts, emails, text you allowed first thing in the morning are now background noise and information running in the back your mind. Who wouldn’t then struggle to concentrate, or be productive, or even stay hopeful? Calm, reflective, positive is what your morning should look like, especially now. That might be prayer, stretching, or just listening to music.
3. Gratitude= contentment
I begin my morning routine with gratitude and I recommend you do too. Gratitude does three things for you. One, it allows you to begin your day with a sense of victory. Imagine that, you just opened your eyes and already a victory. That attitude will roll over to the next thing and the thing after that. Life is not promised, the fact that you woke up today is a victory, it is a blessing. Two, it allows you to reach a sense of contentment. Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t. It’s positive thinking. Three, it keeps you present. You are asking yourself what you have right now to be grateful for. It’s not what I want to have or what I had. Contentment, being present, and seeing the good in life will make your morning better.
4. Meditate/ Pray
Meditation and prayer I think allow us to empty our minds of the cluttering negative thoughts. Now, if you’re not religious and prayer doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! Try meditation and see if that works for you. There are so many meditation videos on Youtube you can follow, playlist on Spotify you can listen to. Or just sit for a moment and silence the mind.
That’s easier said than done, I get it. Especially with the feeling of anxiety in the air. What I do is focus on imagining candlelight, only the candlelight. At first, this won’t be easy. Our minds love to wonder. After time of practicing you will notice your focus will get better. You will also feel light as you let go of all that peace disruptive noise. The good thing about this is that you can do it in 5-15 minutes a day. It’s something simple yet very impactful to your day. You can do this at night before bed or when you feel overwhelmed with your day.
5. Limit your News time
We already talked about the importance of not letting the world and its emergencies first thing in the morning. However, there is an importance in staying informed. This situation is dire and knowing how to protect ourselves and our family is important. That does not mean we live flipping through the channels for news, or scrolling through our news feed. Remember that news is tragedy based and most will repeat the same information. Don’t drown your mind in constant tragedy. Limit your news time. I recommend no more than one hour per day. Watch and read what you need then walk away.
6. Protect your immune system
As someone that is immune-compromised, I understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall. It becomes even more important in the middle of a pandemic. Staying as healthy as we can help your chances of getting COVID-19 lower. Now you don’t need to be immune-compromised to prioritize your health. Making sure you are eating and sleeping well is very important for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Be clean, wash your hands. Follow all health guidelines provided to us. That means masks and six feet distance if you must leave your home. Knowing you are doing your part can bring a sense of security.
7. Watch you energy
Where you place your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy matters. Especially right now in the middle of a wold wide crisis. Try to stay aware of people, activities, and circumstances that drain your energy. Build your routine in a way you limit these things in your day.
8. Stay active at home
As someone that regularly went to the gym, this is something that I had a hard time with. The gym helped me feel strong, it helped my mental health, it was my me time. Not being able to go really had an effect on my mood. So I’ve had to get creative. I began to make a home workout, I started dancing more.
Even if you didn’t regularly workout before, do it now! Not to do all these absurd challenges online, but to help you stay sane, balanced, in a good mood, and keep you healthy. Do what works for you but stay active.
Find something to keep your mind busy. You can draw, dance, read, paint. The point here is to find things to look forward to. With days meshing into each other and hours feeling like days, we need to have something that brightens up our day.
10. Remember it’s not a productivity contest
Whether it’s your workouts, your routine, or your work. This is not a productivity contest. Let me repeat that one more time, this is not a productivity contest! The moment is difficult for everyone. If your routine works one day but the next things just don’t go as planned, let it go. It’s okay to adjust your routine, it is okay if one day you just lack the motivation to finish everything on your to-do list. Give yourself grace. I know with all these activities on social media and people doing this and that challenge it hard not to feel pressured to keep up. Trust me when I say that you will be okay if you don’t do all your tasks.
11. Connect with those whom you are not quarantined with
I know times are crazy and missing those you love can bring a heavy burden on us. Finding ways to connect with your loved ones may be what you need to feel less alone. Video chat with them, write them letters, text, call. You can even drive by to see them as long as you stay in your car. You want to make sure you keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
12. Connect with whom you are quarantined with
Living with people doesn’t mean you get to connect them on a daily basis. Now, it may not be on purpose, life gets busy. Sometimes our schedule runs us instead of us running our schedule. Take this moment to reconnect with them. You can
- Learn something new with them- Walking into a new experience can bring you and your loved ones closer. You can bond over the fact that you have no idea what you are doing. You can celebrate the eureka moment of understanding something or finishing the task. It challenges you guys to work together.
- Get physical- Touch has the ability to reduce stress, boost our mood, and it just makes us feel loved. Even though we are at home many of us are still working. With video conferences and teaching our kids, time may be limited but find the time. Hug your family, a gentle rub as you pass by can go a long way. Touch when you relax in the evening. Even if you just sit on the couch and your legs touch, that works too. Make sure to stay connected with your loved ones.
13. Get off your phone!
When you spend time with your loved ones, stay off your phone. When you are trying to get through your routine, stay off your phone. When we are trying to stay stress-free, stay off your phone! We all know that ten minutes of scrolling through social media is really hours. The social vortex sucks us in and three things happen. One, we don’t get anything done. Two, you will neglect your loved ones which in return will make you feel more isolated. Three, your stress level will remain at a high and your mood at a low. That will make this process of social distancing so much harder than it already is.
14. We all process things differently
In this situation, we are all affected. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate who it infects. Therefor us staying home is equally important for everyone. That doesn’t mean we all process this very difficult, traumatic experience equally. We have to remember that when we interact with our loved ones. Whether they are quarantined with us or not. We all need to support each other right now.
15. Be honest
With that being said, it is imperative for you to be honest. Honest with yourself and with those in your life. Suppressing feelings, doubts, and stress will only hurt everyone. Pent up feelings have a way of exploding in the worst way at the worst times. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve the support if you need it.
16. Be patient with yourself and others
We are all going through this and we are trying to figure things out as we go. The way you and others respond to this unprecedented event is up in the air. We also have to remember that for many this trauma can actually trigger other traumas. This is why understanding, honesty, and patients are so important at this time.
17. Alone time
In the same way you must connect with others to avoid feeling more isolated; I believe it just as important to stay connected with oneself. It is taking that time to unplug from everyone, breath, and ask ourselves how we are doing. It’s okay to have that alone time. It is okay to want space. Even if you love who you have been quarantined with, it is normal to need your space. Many of us have our kids running around in the house all day, we need that me time. With that being said a good thing you can do is designate areas and times for some alone time.
18. Self care is healthcare
Self-care is so important in moments like this. Taking care of ourselves is taking care of our health physically and mentally. Just make sure you are not neglecting yourself to take care of everyone else around you. This is a big one for all my parents out there. We put everyone first and we are left feeling depleted. Here are some ideas for how you can self-care.
19. Don’t make harsh decisions
The other day I tuned into an Instagram live by an amazing therapist, Maritza Plascencia, M.A., LMFT. She brought up a great point that I hadn’t considered. That this event can trigger people into making harsh decisions. We wonder that if we can’t handle being around our partner then is it really worth holding on to our relationships. What we have to remember is that this is a traumatic experience. We are all just trying to do our best. If you had a healthy relationship before this pandemic know you can work through this.
20. Know this will end
The uncertainty of the whole matter I think its what keeps us all on edge. We don’t have a date to look forward to. We are in limbo and in danger. Mel Robbins asks us to make a prediction of when we think this will be over. I think this is a good idea for you to do. It’s not to rely on the date but to look forward to something. It’s to have a small sense of control. So go ahead, make a prediction, be optimistic about the matter.
If you ever feel weighed down by the moment, or life, try to shower. As a young girl my mom always solved everything with a shower. If I felt sick, go shower. If I had a bad day, go shower. As I’m sure many of your parents did as well. I didn’t understand why at first but as I got older I finally understood why. Water is therapeutic and it can help you when you feel overwhelmed.
When you shower imagine the water washing away your pain. Imagine the uncertainty, stress, worry, and fear as dirt and the warm water is draining it out of your body.
I truly hope these points help you in this very difficult moment. Know we are all in this together. This is the moment where we show what we’re made of. Let us show kindness, understanding, and love to ourselves and those around us. We will get through this.
For words of hope, more resources, and information make sure to follow me on Instagram. @lupita_betteryouspace
Written by: Lupita G.